Children With Special Needs
We have been blessed with beautiful children and even more adorable grandchildren. They each have individual personalities and physical traits. We can’t imagine our life without even one of them and the joys that they have brought to our family. We always worry when any family member is sick or going through a difficult time. Nothing seems as important as attending to a sick or sad child.
We have had our share of sickness and sadness in our family. Challenges come and go, but there are a few that are chronic. A new experience we are having recently is learning how to deal with special needs children. The newest member of our family was born with spina bifida. At one time there was hope that it could be corrected in utero, however, it was discovered that the condition was quite severe and with kyphosis in a very delicate place, this was impossible.
The little baby girl was born by cesarean section. Part of her spinal cord was outside of her skin and enclosed in a thin sac that had grown over it. Within two days, the baby had two operations. One to repair her very curved spine and another to put a shunt in her head so that she would not have swelling of the brain. Sadly she has no feeling in her lower extremities and will have limited mobility. Spina bifida has varying degrees of severity.
This same family has another child who has spent quite a bit of time in the hospital due to urinary tract infections. Things had been going pretty well until she started school. In kindergarten she got another UTI and was embarrassed at school. Then her condition went downhill from there. Her bladder is never completely empty because she has sphincter issues. She has missed quite a bit of school and has had a lot of pain. We have all been worried about her kidneys being damaged. Currently she has a catheter that comes out of her belly button and drains into a bag that is attached to her leg. She actually is happy to have it because she doesn’t have the drama and pain associated with what to most children is a routine thing.
Siblings of children with special needs are also affected. They sometimes feel overlooked or left out since the needs of their sibling are more urgent. Parents also feel guilty that they are not giving enough time to the other children.
I know that some families are dealing with even worse issues with their children. These conditions are ongoing and persistent. It takes courage and patience to take care of anyone with physical or mental special needs. The family can grow stronger if they work together. Sometimes the challenge is too great and families pull apart. In our case, so many people have some forward to help out in the neighborhood and family. There are also organizations that help out who have are experienced with specific conditions.